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The Great Wall of China and other Stories

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  873 ratings  ·  55 reviews
Drawing directly on original manuscripts, this collection comprises the major short stories published after Kafka’s death. It includes The Great Wall of China, Blumfeld, An Elderly Bachelor, Investigations of a Dog and his great sequences of aphorisms, with fables and parables on subjects ranging from the legend of Prometheus to the Tower of Babel.

Allegorical, disturbing
Paperback, New Edition, 240 pages
Published May 29th 2007 by Penguin Classic (first published 1931)
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3.73  · 
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 ·  873 ratings  ·  55 reviews

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Sean Blake
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
This collection contains some of Kafka's other major short stories, as well as his numerous one-page sketches and excerpts of his aphorisms. 'Investigations of a Dog' is one of the very finest pieces of literature I've read. A triumph of artistic, comic and philosophical imagination, exploring the possibilities of knowledge, perception and reality. His aphorisms (written between 1915 and 1920) are also significant in itself, highlighting the existential depth he was willing to delve into in orde ...more
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
not sure if it's سور الصين or قناة السويس الجديدة
Nov 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
من أصعب ماقرأت على الاطلاق
Hasan Abbasi
Mar 15, 2019 rated it liked it
مجموعه ای از داستان کوتاه های کافکا که مهمترین آنها در مقابل قانون و دیوار چین است. داستانهایی که در آنها اغلب به مقایسه عقل و طبیعت و یا آزادی میپردازد. در جلوی قانون کردی روستایی که هیچ تصوری از آزادی و قانون ندارد تنها به دلیل اینکه او را از به ورود به قانون منع میکنند تا پایان عکر منتظر میماند دریغ از اینکه آن در تنهابرای او ساخته شده است. و در دیوار چین یک ملت برای ساخت دیواری که از غریزه ی یک پادشاه نشات میگیرد جان میکنند و جان میدهند.
Mona abdelmohsen
يدرس كافكا فى هذا العمل احوال الصين العظيمة حيث يتحدث عن علاقة الامبراطور بشعبه و عن رؤيتهم له .
يبدا كافكا بالتحدث عن السور وكيفيه بنائه و الغرض من ذلك "لصد هجمات الشماليين "و يشكك فى ذلك بقوله ان هذا هو السبب المعلن فقط .
يعرض كيفيه البناء واسباب وجود الكثير من الثغرات فيه .
"الوحده .. الوحده!! جنبا الى جنب ..حلقه مترابطه من الاشقاء , تيار من الدم لم يدور فى جهد.. عبر الصين الذى لا يحد"
وبهذه الكلمات يصف ماحدث من علاقه بين العمال .
ويعرض ايضا الحكمه السريه بين الصفوه :
"حاول بكل ما اوتيت من قوه ا
Kate Savage
Nov 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait. Do not even wait, be quite still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet." -Reflections on Sin, Pain, Hope, and the True Way

I am completely charmed by Kafka's short stories and aphorisms. "The Great Wall of China" is the fictional equivalent of the anthropology of James C. Scott and David Graeber, abo
Various short stories (generally not as good as in Metamorphosis) and a short play. Several have legal/bureaucratic themes and others continue his habit of first-person musings, imagining himself as another creature (Report of a Dog and The Burrow). The Burrow is a very touching insight into the concept of home as a castle, fear of intrusion and persecution etc - very easy to add a Jewish spin to the interpretation.

See my Kafka-related bookshelf for other works by and about Kafka (
Rima Ibrahim
نصوص متفرقة لكافكا بالكاد تفهم منها شيئا, عن محادثات لبناة سور الصين و رجل يطارد من رجل آخر و حيوان غريب مثلث الوجه يسكن حائط معبد و اسئلة وجودية لا تنتهي لكلب و رجل تظهر له كرتان تتقافزان في غرفته وشخص يسكن في سطل فحم يظهر أمام بيت أحدهم...قصص مثيرة للجنون! و لكن بعضها جيد..أو هذا ما أتذكر
Mariam Elsayem
Nov 02, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
لا أعلم إن كانت النسخة الأصلية بهذا السوء أو أن حظي في المترجمة سيء.
May 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"Brief aan mijn vader en ander proza uit de nalatenschap" bevat alle ongepubliceerde Kafka- verhalen, aangevuld met zijn beroemde (maar nooit verstuurde) brief aan zijn vader. We zien dus de piepjonge Kafka die in "Beschrijving van een strijd" en "Bruiloftsvoorbereidingen op het land" volop experimenteert met stijl en vorm, we zien de fascinerend raadselachtige aforismen die Kafka aan het eind van zijn leven schreef, en we zien allerlei andere prozastukjes van heel wisselende lengte en uit heel ...more
Marco Cupo
Mar 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Llegué a este libro gracias a Harold Bloom en su libro Genios, si bien ya lo conocía, su mención en la obra de Bloom terminó por poner al libro como una prioridad. Como ocurre suele ocurrir con las grandes obras, la edición de Losada es precedida por el prólogo de quien fuese devoto admirador e imitador en algún punto del gran maestro Kafka: Jorge Luis Borges, como si fuera poco, además Borges se encargó de traducir los siguientes cuentos: La edificación de la muralla china, Un artista del Hambr ...more
Pete daPixie
Jun 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
'The Great Wall of China and other Stories' contain over forty short works, quite a number being just a page or two in length. Kafka himself left instructions for these writings to be destroyed after his death, instructions which were disobeyed by a certain Max Brod. I have to think that Kafka's wishes should have been met.
I feel that I am being my usual generous self in rating two stars for this collection. It began quite well with the first short stories, perhaps my favourite among them being
Dentro destes 3 contos encontra-se o "caroço" de Kafka: a obsessão. Este é o segundo livro que dele li, por isso não me parece possível que possa dizer que o conheço, ou à sua obra, mas tudo o que li me parece entoar da mesma maneira e rodear o mesmo assunto. Demorei muito tempo a acabar estas poucas mais de 100 páginas só pelas "Investigações de um Cão". Pareceu-me forçosamente obsessivo e bizarro, de um modo diferente da minha leitura de "A Toca". Estas 3 estrelas não são 4 apenas pelo meu int ...more
Batuhan Çetin
Bu neydi şimdi?
Aug 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Kitabı sene içinde bitirmiş de olsam tam bi' sene sonra okundu diye ekliyorum çünkü happy memories and stuff.
Sara  Rida
نصوص متفرقة وهلوسات كافكاوية،، عن الوجودية، العبثية، الضياع
Aug 26, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, 2017
I don’t recall how I found Kafka in college, but once I did I was hooked. I devoured all the writings he’d published during his lifetime, along with two of the three novels that did not, “The Trial” and “The Castle.” I read and reread him as if unable to quench my thirst, and then suddenly I stopped. I haven’t read him since.

Now, I didn’t begin the year with the goal of finally getting to those long-lingering literary works and ticking them off the list, but that’s eventually what I began to do.
Sidharth Vardhan
Most of these were published posthumously. A lot many are incomplete.

A few of my favorites:

The Truth about Sancho Panza

The brain(Sancho Panza) knows that the heart (Quixote) is full of desires that will be destructive to the whole person and so it calms the heart down by feeding it on dreams and fantasies of adventures during evenings and nights.

The Hunter Gracchus

This one begins in a very realistic environment for a Kafka story; The vivid descriptions of very normal village people seems to make
Bartolomeu De Bensafrim
existem infinitas versões da grande muralha da china - erguidas no tempo, no espaço, nos olhos, nas memórias, nos arcos supraciliares dos crânios esvaziados e esquecidos.
a muralha que kafka ergueu passou a ser a mais evocada pela criança, ao longo dos anos, porque é a mais real.
a grande muralha da china, o milenar trombolho, ex-libris da estupidez humana, acaba por ser o mais concreto representante de um dos espectros mais invocados por kafka - aquele bocado informe de nós que não é animal, ou o
Jul 14, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: finished
I have a love-hate relationship with Kafka. Sometimes he bores me to death with a story that doesn't seem to go anywhere, or simply narrated coldly.
In this collection of short stories, he amazed and shocked me with his power of narration. In "A Report to the Academy", he voiced an ape whose only way to achieve freedom was by imitating men.
He wrote, as usual, in a dark, grim and absurd tone. The style I found in some of my current favourite authors.
Jackson Cyril
Jul 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
This made no sense at the beginning, maybe Kafka has some deep meaning entrenched but it comes off as just a historical study of the building of the Great Wall. The second part of the piece was first class in its analysis of how common peasants, though called upon by the government to do much of the dirty work for them, are never involved in the process of government and treated with disdain from those hailing from the capital.
Oct 22, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: absurd
Judging by the couple of incomplete stories and notes about "no author's title" "from the diary of the author" "unlike several others in this volume, the author probably considered publishing this story" make me think it's aimed at people more familiar with Kafka. Enjoyable, but I'd probably have been better off getting a hold of The Trial first.
Jul 08, 2008 rated it liked it
Comes through as a piece before its times, when there is rapid speculation about China and its strong sense of identity. Such lucid profundity in a few pages, with an exact idea of one's place in the order of things. Leaves much to the known beyond one's grasp, but captures one's limitations with fluid ease.
Valentina van ghost
A collection of less-well-known short stories and musings, some interesting and insightful, some failed to capture my attention. Overally I feel like every sentence he wrote was a metaphor that I failed to grasp or sort into his life (which I know next to nothing about). Regardless I quite enjoyed this short book.
Judy Vasseur
Mar 01, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The drawing on this book was done by Kafka himself! What a great drawing! So full of angst!

I may never really finish this book, it's like trying to get to the Castle. My favorite Kafka stories are when he writes from a small animal’s perspective: the burrowing creature, the dog, the cockroach.

Flannery O’Connor said she could never finish Kafka either so I'm in good company.
Vilém Zouhar
Dec 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Annual winter kafkaesque porn. I could never read Kafka except in winter. Maybe it's connected with his novel The Castle, but I reckon there's more to it. There's a strange melancholy mood pervading every story.
جلجامش الأبدي
Sep 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: كافكا
"إن الطبيعة الإنسانية، المتغيره جوهرياً وغير المستـقرة كالغبار تماما،ً لا يمكنها أن تحتمل الكبح ، فإن ألزمت نفسها فإنها سرعان ما تبدأ في تمزيق وثاقها بجنون بل وتمزق كل شئ إرباً، السور والوثاق وحتى ذاتها."
Rida Hariri
ثالث كتاب أقرأه لكافكا,,لم أحبه كثيرًا فيه الكثير من الهلوسات والكلام الملخبط,,نصوص كثيرة لم أرغب بأن أكملها بسبب الضياع الموجود فيها ولكن البعض الآخر كان رائعًا ويجسد أسلوب كافكا القصصي الذي أعتدت عليه..
Mar 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Very interesting and absorbing, but not as crazy and disturbing as I had anticipated. Or perhaps I am just more insane than Kafka was. In any case, there are some brilliant insights and engrossing short stories in this volume. In particular 'The Bridge' and 'The Vulture' are good.
I think I liked the last story (The Burrow) best.
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Franz Kafka was one of the major fiction writers of the 20th century. He was born to a middle-class German-speaking Jewish family in Prague, Bohemia (presently the Czech Republic), Austria–Hungary. His unique body of writing—much of which is incomplete and which was mainly published posthumously—is considered to be among the most influential in Western literature.

His stories include "The Metamorph
“All knowledge, the totality of all questions and answers, is contained in the dog.” 59 likes
“Llegué hasta alimentar el deseo infantil de no retornar a la obra nunca más, sino instalarme aquí en la proximidad de la entrada y pasar mi vida en la contemplación de ella, no perderla de vista y hallar mi felicidad en la comprobación de la firmeza con que la obra me habría protegido de estar yo en ella.” 1 likes
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